“Enchanted Forest”

It’s been a long time since my last post, but I haven’t been idle. My art is currently showing at the Root until the end of May, and I have been preparing for the Vermilion Community Art Show which is on Friday April 11th and 12th, as well as an art exhibition in June for the Vermilion Public Library. Since my last post, I have ventured into the world of textured acrylics. Modelling paste, textured mediums and high gloss varnish are my new passion.

Since my mother passed away in 2009, I have been thinking of ways to preserve my Filipino heritage in the lives of my children. Having grown up in Canada all my life, and as close relatives age and pass away, I find that I am missing our big Filipino get family get togethers – the scent of the cooking rice, adobo and frying lumpia; the sounds of Tagalog being spoken throughout the house. Then I remembered a small puppy figurine made from seashells that my godfather gave me as a gift when my family and I visited the Philippines in 1979. Of course, there’s no way to get a hold of the actual seashells required to make such art here in the Prairies! But thinking of these little sculptures inspired a desire to replicate the textures and colors of seashells in my paintings.

As artists, we are continually influenced by the world around us, (or at least I feel that I am), and one of the things that I love to do is to read fairy tales to my children. I love seeing and hearing their reactions to the magical tales of princesses and dragons, magical forests, and haunted castles. So I decided to combine these two important things in my life…the memories of seashell art from my childhood, and the current memories that I am making with my own children through the joy of fairy tales – and thus my most recent collection was born. Imagine magical forested glens teeming with lush foliage, grappling vines, and carnivorous blooms juxtaposed with the rich textures of seashells. “Enchanted Forest” was a labor of love, for which the resulting artwork elicited reactions that varied from wonder, amazement, wrinkled noses and quizzical looks from those close to me who have seen it. I love that these creations are stimulating conversations about art – abstract versus still life, acrylic versus oils, art as something that is just pretty to look at versus art that may not be so pretty but that stimulates the imagination. These conversations have been had in my home with family members and friends ranging in age from three years old to seventy. I am so excited about this collection, and it will make its debut at the Vermilion Art Show this weekend. Here is a sneak peek at my process. It is radically different for me from my more ‘traditional’ floral oils, but they were a joy and an adventure to create. When I first scraped the palette knife across my clean canvas, I felt such a great surge of creative joy and freedom – I hope that you enjoy it too!

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These were the tools that I used for my “Enchanted Forest”. I chose Liquitex Light Modelling Paste for its airy, low weight, high peak properties. It was easy to handle, and I loved the opaque, pure white color of it. I also preferred to use silicone palette knives because the soft flexible heads made it easier to make the petals for each little flower. I used basic professional grade heavy body acrylic paints. I started off of course, by making a background. See the pictures below.

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I then used some of my own “secret” techniques (don’t we all have our own personal styles and processes – just like magicians) to get the textural effects that I wanted. The paint and modelling paste went on in several layers, so the paintings were finished over the course of a week or so with drying time. Here is one of the paintings with the start of the flowers.

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My final products would have been quite heavy if I’d used regular density modelling paste. Here is a couple of pics from the side showing the depth and texture of the paintings.

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And here are pictures of the finished products. I’d added metallic accents because when I think of “enchanted” or ‘magical”, sparkly pixie dust comes to mind…

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I also did a large floral for this collection, textured with modelling paste and beautiful Liquitex Glass Bead Medium. I love how this flower pops out of the canvas. The high gloss varnish I used for all the paintings in this collection added to the depth of the paintings. This flower evokes images of a lush jungle riddled with carnivorous blooms. Perhaps I was thinking of the 8 foot corpse plant we saw in Edmonton last year when I made this! Someone who saw it recently said it reminded them of graffiti (I loved this comparison)…another person said the colors reminded them of copper patina…hence the name of it, “Scarlett Patina”. Below are some photos of it, as well as a close up of the shimmering glass beads.

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Now I’m off to varnish my next painting, “Moon Bloom”, acrylic on 24×36 inch canvas…post to follow.

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3 thoughts on ““Enchanted Forest”

  1. David Brozuk says:

    Wow great post!!! I love the enchanted theme!!!

    David Brozuk
    Director of Transportation and Utilities
    Town of Vermilion
    Direct: 780-581-2421
    Cell: 780-853-7526

  2. Jaksha says:

    Wonderful post – would you share any videos on how to make the flower textures?

    • Hi, thank you so much! I haven’t any videos to share, but I do liken the shaping of the flowers to icing a cake, or spreading peanut butter on bread. 🙂 The shape of the spatula is key to making petals, leaves or any shape that you would like. I hope that helps!

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